In my last post I posted the ninja video manifesto, but I’m using a desktop with a huge screen and I just realised that when you look at the page from a smaller laptop the words are too small to read. Sorry about that. I still recommend you read it, or listen to it if you get a chance.
Here is a copy and paste from ePirate.net
I really think everyone should read this.
For those who have not heard, the Federal Government of the United States (specifically the Immigrations & Customs Enforcement aka ICE) have seized the domain names of several websites that link to, or have embedded, streaming tv shows, movies, documentaries and other video content. Unlike previous stings, such as Operation Site Down, back in 2005, in which top-sites hosting content and actual scene-members were busted, Operation In Our Sites is a clear violation of our collective right to Freedom of Speech on the Internet. TVShack.com (since TVShack.cc) and the other websites taken down did nothing but link or embed to content provided by other websites, such as MegaVideo, MegaUpload, DivxDen, WiseVid and in some situations, even News Corp’s HULU (which provides legally-hosted content) as well as other video hosting websites.
It’s no extreme statement to say that this is an over-reach by the United States government, as the act of linking to content hosted on other websites has no judicial precedent or law showing it to be illegal– and any law created would be a clear violation of the 1st Amendment of the United States which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech“, and any such law that could be used to justify the actions of ICE, has yet to exist, irregardless, such a law would be in clear violation.
To make matters worse, ICE has violated the 1st Amendment in an additional way, closing down one website NinjaThis!— which was nothing more than a forum used for discussion, having very loose ties to any allegations of wrong-doing that could be associated with the video streaming site, NinjaVideo. The closure and theft of this domain name/website is in violation of the 1st Amendment’s right to assemble:
Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble
and the 5th Amendment’s anti-deprivation of property:
No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
especially when considering that NinjaThis did not host, embed, nor link to “Toy Story 3” or other films used as the excuse to violate the constitution.
Aside from the fact that TVShack and others were not in violation of any law, there is the moral argument of the debate, which the stalinists at the RIAA and MPAA attempt to use in order to prey on your emotions, using silly claims that downloading will put artists in the poor house and result in a massive amount of lost jobs, damaging an already, suffering economy. Let’s not forget these organizations are responsible for ludicrous episodes, such as the infamous Dancing Baby case, in which a mother recorded her baby dancing to the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. Universal Studios threatened YouTube for the 29-second clip of barely audible music in the background of the video.
These are also the same people who sued and settled with a 12-year-old girl living in NYC public housing, forced to publicly apologize for her actions and pay a $2,000 settlement, for unknowingly sharing songs on the gnutella p2p network, via Limewire. The same people who sued a dead woman, claiming that she made more than 700 songs available on the Internet, proving just how accurate their mass suit campaign was against the 20,000+ individuals they bullied into giving them money-for-nothing. The same people who sued a college student over 675,000 USD for pleading guilty to sharing (a pathetic) 30 songs. The same people who want to see their Three-Strikes Campaign end with individuals who have been accused (not proven guilty in a court of law) of downloading/uploading copyrighted content three times to be banned from the Internet, which Finland just accurately declared as a fundamental right, in opposition to.
These are also the same people who wanted to make even more undeserved profit by charging roylaties on the re-sale of CDs in used record stores and proving even more that these conglomerates are true control-freaks, they don’t even want you to have the ability to purchase imported CDs that they do not approve of, thus forcing customers to turn to P2P networks and then be labeled as “criminals”.
Most importantly, these copyright conglomerates, seek to circumvent the democratic process and have been working towards a new treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), in which member nations of the EU, United States, Canada, Australia and other countries will be loyal to a treaty that was never properly passed and voted on by representatives of the people, and would lead to forcing ISPs to act as copyright-police (exactly opposite of Net Neutrality that President Obama promised to defend), among many other violations of your rights.
Why am I pointing all of this out? Because those on the fence need to be reminded of who it is the governments are obsessed with defending the rights of. We are living in democracies being run as corporate dictatorships, in which copyright holders are above the law and can have the government seize domain names, raid houses and arrest website owners who are not in violation of any law or court precedent, all on the tax-payer’s dime.
Furthermore, this is also an obvious case of selective enforcement (in the pretend world where there is a law to enforce) upon certain websites which must follow the law, yet websites like YouTube actually host countless videos which are copyrighted by third parties and no one is kicking their door in. MegaVideo is hosting millions of copyrighted videos, and making profit from advertising and premium accounts, yet the action was not taken against the hosts who are in violation of the law, it was taken against websites which embedded their videos or linked to them.
To give those who are still on the fence a clearer picture, let’s say you have a blog or a Facebook account and you decide to share an embedded YouTube link of a Seinfeld episode with your readers or a friend. Now instead of YouTube being blamed for hosting the video, they seize your blog or Facebook account, raid your house and arrest you, while not even lifting a finger at Youtube. This is all that TVShack and the other targeted websites were guilty of, sharing a link by posting it or embedding it on a webpage.
All of this being said, I strongly urge anyone reading this little post, to consider donating to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is truly the most active organization standing up for the people’s rights on the Internet. Websites, hosts, P2P networks come and go, but your rights on the Internet are more important than any one website. Your money is much better donated to the EFF than it is to any warez, streaming, p2p or torrent site, because that can truly make a difference.
And as a last note, never buy a CD which is under a RIAA-label again (see: RIAA-Radar), unless it is used or buy/see a movie which is made by a film studio under the MPAA (unless it is used). Instead, rent and copy DVDs, download, share music with your friends and most importantly, do something to really hurt them.
If we boycott those who wish to take away our rights, and support those who wish to uphold them, we can have a truly open Internet free from the clutches of the government and the corporations that run it.
I, for one, am not going to the theatres anymore. Although I enjoy online video sites for tv shows that aren’t available where I live, when a new movie comes out I prefer to see it in the theatre, it’s just not the same when you watch it on your computer. But last night when my friends wanted to go to the movies, I got a sick feeling in my stomach and I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I am still so angry over what the movie studios did (and it was the studios behind the whole thing, the government was simply doing their bidding – scary).
I did not know any of the people who ran any of these sites. But just from visiting ninjavideo, I feel like a got a sense of who Phara and some of the other admins/mods were just from their mainsite posts and the few forum posts I browsed through and the occasional podcast I listened to. I have no idea what the fate of any of these people are. If they are were arrested, if they received bail, if they were never arrested and only search warrants were carried out – I have no idea. But as we have seen in the past, prison time is sometimes a sad result of cases like these. How can anyone say that these people who held long running discussions on topics such as world events and religious freedoms and who held art and literature competitions deserve to be locked away from society, thrown into a category with drug users, violent offenders, thiefs, and murders? It disgusts me to think that the pretty girl who’s picture I saw posted online many times smiling with her friends, could be considered a criminal. Maybe I am wrong, but I was under the impression that prisons are a place where we send dangerous people who society needs to be protected from. Since when did prisons become a place were we send people as punishment for pissing off people in Hollywood? And I can’t even listen to the “theft of intellectual property” argument. Angelina Jolie makes something like 10 million dollars per movie. Even if online piracy caused her to make one million dollars less (I’m making that number up) on her next movie, there is no way in the world you could get me to care. All those people in Hollywood have enough money. And I am writing this from the point of view of someone who has money, I in no way hate rich people, or feel jealous or entitled to something they have that I don’t. I have everything in the world I need. And when I notice a hundred dollar bill missing from my purse from time to time, I don’t say anything about it. Because I think that the cleaning lady or the maintenance man or the driver who risked getting caught and losing their job just for a 100 dollars, must need it much more than I do. I hate greedy people. And for the movie studios to cry over lost income is just laughable as far as I’m concerned.
So as of now, I, a person who never chose to watch a movie online rather than in the theatres, will no longer be going to the theatres. They just lost a customer, two actually as my husband will be joining me in this boycott, and not because of online piracy, but because of the movie studios actions against online piracy. I hope that anyone reading this will join me in this boycott. Maybe one person can’t make a big difference, but a bunch of people doing the same thing absolutely can. And I assume that many of the people who watched online movies were doing so because the price of the theatre was not in their budget. So I don’t think that now that these sites are shut down the movie theaters are suddenly going to be seeing an increase in business.
I am still searching for a tv site to replace ninja.
I’ve found a few, but none are even half as good as ninja was and none of them have new Real Housewives episodes. Ninjavideo will be sorely missed.